Pastor Jeff’s Blog: Reflections from Sierra Leone Part II

Ready or Not, we will worship.

OSHA would not approve.  Municipal code enforcement officers would not permit, insurance companies would deny coverage and most children of faith would not enter. YET, here in Sierra Leone, a new church was meeting in a stick, cardboard and tin shelter that has been their worship center for sometime.    

The day we arrived, Rev Dave Shultz, from Port Trevorton, PA had the privilege of beginning to tear down the old structure at Old Wharf UMC.  This was a celebration of the covenant between Port Trevorton UMC and their sister congregation Old Wharf.  Singing, dancing, and presentations followed from each and every department of the church.  Children, youth and adults all shared their hopes and dreams of their ministry in this new facility. 

When I worship at one of our church camps, or in some shelter made of sticks covered with banana leaves, I’m always reminded that the church is not the building but the people.  I know in my accumulating years I appreciate the comforts of worship.  I enjoy soft seating and climate control.  I appreciate great sound systems and technology that brings God’s Word to life.  But for many, God’s Word is still enough.  Worshipping for several hours in crammed spaces on hard wooden boards without climate control nor good sound is now a challenge for me.  Yet I look around, even with the freedom of movement throughout a service, many are attentive and waiting to discover God anew this day. 

I pray one day I can learn as Paul to be content in all situations.   

Philippians 4:  10-13 I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

One the basic needs of life is water.  At home, I arise, jump in to a hot shower and enjoy feeling refreshed.  I drink water from my tap without question of quality. (I’m not from Flint!) We have such an abundance of water.  Without thinking, we wash cars, water our gardens and fill our pools. Water is not always found to be so accessible.  Today, I met Richard Roberts from British Colombia. For over 30 years, he has been coming to Africa helping villages discover healthy spring water, building storage tanks and providing water to over 160,000 people.  No, the water is not in each house, it is a community well where everyone still goes to collect their water, BUT water is life.